And he was as good as his word.
“Thank you,” said Frank; “now you had better brush your own shoes.”
This had not occurred to Dick, for in general the professional boot-black considers his blacking too valuable to expend on his own shoes or boots, if he is fortunate enough to possess a pair.
The two boys now went downstairs together. They met the same servant who had spoken to Dick a few minutes before, but there was no recognition.
“He don’t know me,” said Dick. “He thinks I’m a young swell like you.”
“What’s a swell?”
“Oh, a feller that wears nobby clothes like you.”
“And you, too, Dick.”
“Yes,” said Dick, “who’d ever have thought as I should have turned into a swell?”
They had now got out on Broadway, and were slowly walking along the west side by the Park, when who should Dick see in front of him, but Johnny Nolan?
Instantly Dick was seized with a fancy for witnessing Johnny’s amazement at his change in appearance. He stole up behind him, and struck him on the back.
“Hallo, Johnny, how many shines have you had?”
Johnny turned round expecting to see Dick, whose voice he recognized, but his astonished eyes rested on a nicely dressed boy (the hat alone excepted) who looked indeed like Dick, but so transformed in dress that it was difficult to be sure of his identity.
“What luck, Johnny?” repeated Dick.
Johnny surveyed him from head to foot in great bewilderment.
“Who be you?” he said.
“Well, that’s a good one,” laughed Dick; “so you don’t know Dick?”
“Where’d you get all them clothes?” asked Johnny. “Have you been stealin’?”
“Say that again, and I’ll lick you. No, I’ve lent my clothes to a young feller as was goin’ to a party, and didn’t have none fit to wear, and so I put on my second-best for a change.”
Without deigning any further explanation, Dick went off, followed by the astonished gaze of Johnny Nolan, who could not quite make up his mind whether the neat-looking boy he had been talking with was really Ragged Dick or not.
In order to reach Chatham Street it was necessary to cross Broadway. This was easier proposed than done. There is always such a throng of omnibuses, drays, carriages, and vehicles of all kinds in the neighborhood of the Astor House, that the crossing is formidable to one who is not used to it. Dick made nothing of it, dodging in and out among the horses and wagons with perfect self-possession. Reaching the opposite sidewalk, he looked back, and found that Frank had retreated in dismay, and that the width of the street was between them.
“Come across!” called out Dick.
“I don’t see any chance,” said Frank, looking anxiously at the prospect before him. “I’m afraid of being run over.”
“If you are, you can sue ’em for damages,” said Dick.